FirstSpear

New Helmet Coming for US Troops

For the first time, U.S. Forces will be equipped with combat helmets capable of providing reliable protection against rifle fire (an as yet undisclosed .30 threat) at close range and at any angle. Such an advancement, long the Holy Grail of armored headgear designers, has been achieved through the use of an advanced thermoplastic composite mixture by Ceradyne, maker of advanced hard armor inserts for ballistic vests and vehicles.

Called the Ceradyne Diaphorm Ballistic Helmet, the design is twice the price of current Army and Marine Corps helmets, but provides up to 70% improvement in ballistic protection while remaining light enough to meet current requirements. Moreover, use of advanced construction techniques makes production simpler by allowing molding of the shell without having to cut or dart materials, as has been done previously. This allows creation of a seamless, multilayered form that is weather and chem/bio agent proof.

The U.S. Army is expected to field some 200,000 of the helmets beginning in the fall of 2011, with units bound for Afghanistan being the first recipients.

-Mike Perry

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